Queretaro got a convincing 2-0 win over Pumas in their second straight home victory of the season. Queretaro was the better side and took advantage of what was the worst regular season performance from Pumas in a regular season game since Coach Andres Lillini started his tenure with the team. Pumas has to be alarmed, as the absence of striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno was really felt in the first game after he injured himself. Queretaro will now have a tough task as they travel to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul. Pumas meanwhile will need to bounce back as they return home and face struggling Atlas.
The first half started as both teams went out looking for the win. Pumas started with Emanuel Montejano taking place of the injured Dinenno and Jesus Rivas taking place of the suspended Alan Mozo. After a couple of even minutes, Queretaro came really close with the first true chance. After a cross, Kevin Ramirez got to the ball and hit a left footed shot that hit the post. Pumas almost made the copy play with Facundo Waller volleying a cross with a left footed that shot that just went wide. Queretaro started to control the game somewhat, but Pumas kept getting opportunities in counter attacks. Yet it was Queretaro who struck first when a great pass from Gonzalo Montes found Jose Gurrola, who got into the area and took a shot past Pumas’ keeper Alfredo Talavera for the 1-0 lead. It was a great pass that went through the Pumas lines and gave Queretaro the deserved win. Pumas tried to respond, but it seemed they were rattled by the goal and their attacks started to falter. After a couple of bad attacks, Pumas finally threatened again with a great left footed shot by Waller that forced a great save from Queretaro’s goalkeeper, Gerardo Ruiz. In the ensuing corner kick, Pumas had a good chance when Nicolas Freire got a free header, but he did a poor job and it went clearly wide. After a couple of minutes, in an incredible bad defensive display, Antonio Valencia was given all the time and space to get a cross into the area that Angel Sepulveda headed past Talavera for the 2-0. The halftime whistle blew and Queretaro had a deserved lead against a Pumas team who played their worst half so far in the season.
The second half started with Pumas trying to respond by subbing out Carlos Gutierrez for Favio Alvarez. Queretaro though had the first dangerous play when Valencia once again started a great play that ended with a deflected shot from Kevin Madrigal that ended in a corner kick. Pumas didn’t have a chance until a long range shot from Juan Iturbe went over the bar in the 60th minute. Then after a terrible tackle by Gonzalo Montes from Juan Pablo Vigon, the referee gave him a straight red card but replays weren’t convincing. The ref went to the VAR and reversed to a yellow card, while also giving a yellow card to Waller for a fight after the tackle. Pumas made a change by subbing out Montejano for Jacob Morales, another forward with no experience who was making his debut in Liga MX. Pumas continued to control the possession, but they had no cohesive plan. Pumas subbed out the yellow carded Waller for Sebastian Saucedo. Queretaro subbed out Angel Sepulveda and Gonzalo Montes for Hugo Silveira and ex-Pumas player Kevin Escamilla. Everything was going wrong for Pumas, and the best examples was when minutes after coming in, Saucedo looked to have injured himself. Saucedo tried to reach a ball and after having injury troubles this past season, troubles that sent him to the bench. It was terrible news for him as Saucedo had to be subbed out along with Erik Lira for Angel Garcia and Leonel Lopez. Pumas took control of the possession, but this was because Queretaro started to sit back as they defended their lead, knowing that Pumas were not creating much. Queretaro had an incredible chance wasted when Gurrola made a great pass into the area that found a wide open Silvera, who only had to connect with it to get a goal but instead sent it to the stands in a terrible miss. Queretaro made their final moves by subbing out Kevin Ramirez, Kevin Madrigal, and Jose Gurrola for Joe Gallardo, Jose Alfredo Ramirez, and Joshua Canales. Off a corner kick, Josua Morales rose to head the ball and hit the post after a save by Diaz. Time ran out and Queretaro had clearly been the better team and got the deserved win.
Queretaro gave the best performance of the season as they were the better side against a team that played in the last Liga MX final. Queretaro has been a nice surprise of the season as they sit near the top with six points and have gotten good performances in their three matches. Coach Hector Altamirano got the upper hand over Andres Lillini, and Queretaro look like they might get to the Liguilla lead by a Latin America legend like Luis Antonio Valencia. Their match next week against Cruz Azul will be a big test to see how far this team can go. Meanwhile Pumas got a severe hit with the loss. They went in favored but were dominated. It’s also a bad sign that several weakness got exposed. While Emanuel Montejano was the toast of the town last week in his debut, tonight he showed how young he was, and the fact that his substitute is also an inexperienced Jacob Morales means that Pumas will hurt while Dinenno is out injured. Also key was the fact that after Pumas allowed Alejandro Mayorga to return to Chivas, tonight Jeronimo Rodriguez did a terrible job in replacing him and it could be a problem since Pumas doesn’t have any prospects in that area. Pumas will now have to bounce back against a team that is struggling like Atlas, and being at home and playing at 12 PM will be a big help to the team but should they not pull it off, then the cries of crisis from fans will be numerous.